FORMER Woolsthorpe rider Jamie Kermond will represent Australia at next month’s World Equestrian Games in France.
Kermond and 10-year-old bay stallion Quite Cassini were yesterday announced as one of two automatic selections for Australia’s showjumping team after a high-pressured series of trials in Belgium and Germany.
It’s the second time Kermond has been selected to represent his country at the World Equestrian Games, having competed in Germany in 2006.
The games, the sport’s world championships, are held every four years, and sit between the cycle of Olympic Games.
Kermond, who moved to Sydney about three years ago in a bid to chase his international dreams, survived the tough qualifying series, spread across two weekends.
Any rider and horse combination which accumulated less than 20 penalties across the two events would have satisfied Equestrian Australia’s automatic selection policy.
But Kermond and Quite Cassini picked up 17 penalties in the first event, meaning in Sunday’s grand prix at Spangenberg they had no room for error.
They produced a near-faultless performance, picking up one time penalty.
Kermond’s mother Sue and stepfather Shayne Fisher followed his progress via a live stream on the internet in the early hours yesterday.
“It was a great thrill,” Fisher said.
“He punched the air as though he had won the actual event when he finished. He was pretty excited he got around cleanly and got his ticket.”
Fisher said Kermond and his girlfriend Jamie Winning, who is also chasing selection for the team, flew a team of six horses to Europe in January in preparation for a tilt at qualifying for the games.
His selection vindicated their costly decision. Fisher said Kermond would not have been able to chase his goals without the support of Winning’s family, which helped fund the venture.
Since arriving in Europe in January, Kermond has improved his world ranking from 450 to 249. He is Australia’s second-highest ranked rider.
The European venture came after a golden run in Australia and New Zealand, where he won a staggering 18 grand prix events last season. Not surprisingly he was named Equestrian Australia’s domestic athlete of 2013 earlier this year. But his performances overseas in recent weeks have elevated him to a new level. He and Quite Cassini have been invited to contest a lucrative event in Austria in two weeks, which has a prize purse of more than $650,000.
Kermond, who was unable to be reached for comment yesterday, was automatically selected for the games alongside South Australian Amy Graham, who used events across the Western District to launch her career.
The World Equestrian Games are in Normandy from August 23 to September 7.